Title: The Mercies

Author: Kiran Millwood Hargrave

Pages: 345 Pages

Publisher: Pan Macmillan

The Blurb

Winter, 1617. The sea around the remote Norwegian island of Vardø is thrown into a reckless storm. A young woman, Maren, watches as the men of the island, out fishing, perish in an instant. Vardø is now a place of women.

Eighteen months later, a sinister figure arrives. Summoned from Scotland to take control of a place at the edge of the civilized world, Absalom Cornet knows what he needs to do to bring the women of the island to heel. With him travels his young wife, Ursa. In her new home, and in Maren, Ursa finds something she has never seen before: independent women. But Absalom sees only a place flooded with a terrible evil, one he must root out at all costs . . .

The Review

I have heard nothing but great things about The Mercies. Everyone I spoke to who had read it recommended it to me. It came with a lot of expectations that for me weren’t met.

This is not a slight against Kiran Millwood Hargrave. The premise of The Mercies makes it sound like it is my kind of book – an LGBT historical fiction with a feminist slant and persecution due to the belief in witches but I just didn’t gel with the story. It seems I am in the minority among my friends so this may have been a case of right book wrong time but at this point it wasn’t for me.

The Mercies by Kiran Millwood Hargrave is available now.

For more information regarding Kiran Millwood Hargrave (@Kiran_MH)please visit her Twitter page.

For more information regarding Pan Macmillan (@panmacmillan) please visit www.panmacmillan.com.

Title: Space Hopper

Author: Helen Fisher

Pages: 351 Pages

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

The Blurb

This is a story about taking a leap of faith

And believing the unbelievable

They say those we love never truly leave us, and I’ve found that to be true. But not in the way you might expect. In fact, none of this is what you’d expect.

I’ve been visiting my mother who died when I was eight.

And I’m talking about flesh and blood, tea-and-biscuits-on-the-table visiting here.

Right now, you probably think I’m going mad.

Let me explain…

Although Faye is happy with her life, the loss of her mother as a child weighs on her mind even more now that she is a mother herself. So she is amazed when, in an extraordinary turn of events, she finds herself back in her childhood home in the 1970s. Faced with the chance to finally seek answers to her questions – but away from her own family – how much is she willing to give up for another moment with her mother?

Space Hopper is an original and poignant story about mothers, memories and moments that shape life.

The Review

I am not a fan of time travel stories. I should say this from the start. I love Back to the Future but even that makes my head melt with time/space continuum issues and once I start thinking about it my head gets sore. You are probably wondering why I chose to read a book called Space Hopper which is about time travel and I can only say this: I like roller skates and they were on the cover.

However, once I started reading the story I actually found myself enjoying it. I think the reason for this is that besides the science fiction element the story has an awful lot of heart. Faye’s desire to spend time with her mum is palpable. Her yearning for a relationship with her aches off the page and the reader connects with this element.

Yes, if you look at Space Hopper from a realistic perspective you are left with some questions such as the butterfly effect but Fisher navigates this well. If you are going to read Space Hopper it is best to suspend your disbelief and read the story as a heartwarming tale of mother and daughter.

Space Hopper by Helen Fisher is available now.

For more information regarding Helen Fisher (@HFisherAuthor) please visit her Twitter page.

For more information regarding Simon and Schuster (@SimonsSchusterUK) please visit www.simonandschuster.co.uk.

Title: Consent

Author: Annabel Lyon

Pages: 224 Pages

Publisher: Atlantic Books

The Blurb

Saskia and Jenny – twins – are alike in appearance only. Saskia is a grad student with a single-minded focus on her studies, while Jenny is glamorous, thrill-seeking, and capricious. Still, when Jenny is severely injured in an accident, Saskia puts her life on hold to be with her sister.

Sara and Mattie are sisters with another difficult dynamic. Mattie, who is younger, is intellectually disabled. Sara loves nothing more than fine wines, perfumes, and expensive clothing, and leaves home at the first opportunity. But when their mother dies, Sara inherits the duty of caring for her sister. Arriving at the house one day, she is horrified to discover that Mattie has married their mother’s handyman. The relationship ends in tragedy.

Now, Sara and Saskia, both caregivers for so long, are on their own – and come together through a cascade of circumstances as devastating as they are unexpected. Razor-sharp and profoundly moving, Consent is a thought-provoking exploration of the complexities of familial duty, of how love can become entangled with guilt, resentment, and regret.

The Review

I have to admit, I am a little perplexed by this book. Consent by Annabel Lyon has a dual narrative that takes place over various time periods. The two main characters seem disparate characters who are brought together at the end. The coincidence of their lives joining seems to be completely random with one small tenuous link. Their separate stories of having difficulties with their families seems to be the only thing that really ties them together.

I just didn’t enjoy this book.

Consent by Annabel Lyon is available now.

For more information regarding Atlantic Books (@AtlanticBooks) please visit www.atlantic-books.co.uk.

Title: Revenge of the Sluts

Author: Natalie Walton

Pages: 328 Pages

Publisher: Wattpad Books

The Blurb

Double standards are about to get singled out.

In this stunning debut, author Natalie Walton tackles privacy and relationships in the digital age.

As a lead reporter for The Warrior Weekly, Eden has covered her fair share of stories at St. Joseph’s High School. And when intimate pictures of seven female students are anonymously emailed to the entire school, Eden is determined to get to the bottom of it.

In tracking down leads, Eden is shocked to discover not everyone agrees the students are victims. Some people feel the girls “brought it on themselves.” Even worse, the school’s administration seems more concerned about protecting its reputation than its students.

With the anonymous sender threatening more emails, Eden finds an unlikely ally: the seven young women themselves. Banding together to find the perpetrator, the tables are about to be turned. The Slut Squad is fighting back!

The Review

I love it when a new writing trend happens. Over the years we have seen vampires and werewolves, we have seen pirates, we have even seen limited life books become popular. However, the trend that most excites me, the one that makes me sit up and listen a bit more is the growing trend (that is hopefully here to stay) of girls not allowing themselves to be slut-shamed. It is a brand of feminism which has been around a while but has probably got more traction since the #MeToo movement.

Revenge of the Sluts is a brilliant book that displays this changing attitude and highlights the ever present mysogeny that is still present and that isn’t talked about, discussed, or taught about in schools but novels like Revenge of the Sluts are being placed in young girls hands and showing them that they don’t have to put up with it. They can make a stand and they can be the change. Revenge of the Sluts is brilliant for this reason. It shows people of both genders making a difference and refusing to stand for the outdated beliefs that girls should be allowed to be slut-shamed.

Revenge of the Sluts by Natalie Walton is available now.

For more information regarding Natalie Walton (@nataliexwalton) please visit www.rotsbook.com.

For more information regarding Wattpad Books (@wattpad) please visit www.wattpad.com.

Title: Hungry

Author: Grace Dent

Pages: 304 Pages

Publisher: Harper Collins

The Blurb

From Frazzles to Foie Gras: a memoir of wanting more.

From an early age, Grace Dent was hungry. As a little girl growing up in Currock, Carlisle, she yearned to be something bigger, to go somewhere better.

Hungry traces Grace’s story from growing up eating beige food to becoming one of the much-loved voices on the British food scene. It’s also everyone’s story – from treats with your nan, to cheese and pineapple hedgehogs, to the exquisite joy of cheaply-made apple crumble with custard. It’s the high-point of a chip butty covered in vinegar and too much salt in the school canteen, on an otherwise grey day of double-Maths and cross country running. It’s the real story of how we have all lived, laughed, and eaten over the past 40 years.

Warm, funny and joyous, Hungry is also about love and loss, the central role that food plays in all our lives, and how a Cadbury’s Fruit ‘n’ Nut in a hospital vending machine can brighten the toughest situation.

The Review:

People will know Grace Dent as the no-nonsense northern food critic often seen on Masterchef or panel shows. If, like me, you are a fan of Grace Dent, you may have read her previous work about trying to leave Twitter – I love you, Dent, but it didn’t stop me using it. If you are a fan you may have recently picked up her autobiography – Hungry and if you are not a fan then you should, most definitely pick up a copy of Hungry.

Grace Dent has lived a very normal yet inspiring life. You could call it a rags to reasonable income story (I think even Dent would stop at saying riches) but it hasn’t fallen into her lap. Yes she has had some lucky breaks but all of her chances seem to have been born of hard work. She has put in the graft. As a fellow northerner you see an unwavering sense of “you get what you work for” mentality. An innate life ethos that comes from being working class and it is a mentality to take pride in.

The title Hungry is very fitting. Every time Dent mentioned a food staple from her childhood my mouth filled with saliva and reading the book left me with a hankering for Findus Crispy Pancakes – I’ve not been able to find them, I’ve had to settle for Bird’s Eye.

Overall, Dent uses food to show how the staple of our everyday lives combined with the love of our family creates a sense of comfort and how evocative food can be at drawing out memories.

A wonderful autobiography.

Hungry by Grace Dent is available now.

For more information regarding Grace Dent (@gracedent) please visit her Twitter page.

For more information regarding Harper Collins (@HarperCollinsUK) please visit the Twitter page.